Meeks Statement on Voting Against GOP ICE Resolution

    U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

    U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D) yesterday decried the House GOP Resolution passed this week expressing unbridled support for the Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

    The partisan non-binding resolution comes after several progressive Democrats have signed onto new legislation that would abolish ICE and redistribute many of its responsibilities to other agencies.

    “My strong respect for all those in law enforcement in our country who put their lives on the line to keep us safe has nothing to do with my no vote on the Republican resolution, which was a shameful ploy. Law enforcement should never be used as pawns in a political game. The Resolution brought to the floor for a vote yesterday represents everything disdainful in the GOP’s rhetoric on immigration,” said Meeks.

    “Overwhelmingly of focus in the Resolution is language which portrays immigrants as MS-13 criminals, and echoes the hateful rhetoric used by President Trump. This was not a Resolution honoring the work of ICE officers, this was thinly-veiled racism meant to dehumanize immigrants and distract from the Trump administration’s horrifying policy of separating children from their parents. It is no different, in my mind, from a resolution that would claim to honor police officers, but instead go to great lengths to generalize African Americans as violent felons.

    “Furthermore, no federal agency is beyond review and oversight. Congress should serve as a check on the other branches of government, and this Resolution goes too far in the direction of abdicating that responsibility.

    “This political stunt is a distraction from the disaster at our border, a humanitarian crisis which this President has caused and refused to fix. Rather than disavow the values which have always defined our nation, Republicans should reaffirm the United States’ moral authority to the world by working with Democrats to find constructive solutions,” Meeks concluded.


    Peralta Leads Rally & Unveils Bill Calling for a Sanctuary New York State

    State Sen. Jose Peralta

    State Sen. Senator Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside) along with Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix W. Ortiz (D-Brooklyn) Sunset Park, Red Hook), advocates, community leaders and neighbors yesterday rallied and urged for the passage of a bill that will establish the ‘Sanctuary State of New York.’

    Under the proposal (S.7849/A.8776) the two lawmakers introduced, state and local enforcement agencies would be prohibited from acting as agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), severely limiting the information they would be authorized to share with federal authorities. Additionally, the bill would restrict state and local agencies from cooperating with ICE to arrest or detain immigrants in New York.

    Immigration organizations, advocates, community leaders and neighbors joined Senator Peralta to demand long-overdue protections for immigrants. The group rallied at the recently transformed Corona Plaza, located at the heart of one of New York’s most diverse immigrant communities.

    Undocumented immigrants contribute about $1.1 billion to state and local taxes in New York, according to a study released by the Fiscal Policy Institute. The study points out that undocumented immigrants are responsible for about $40 billion of New York State’s economic output (GDP). They account for 11% of the leisure and hospitality industry; 9% in agriculture and construction; among other many sectors.

    The bill calls for state and local law enforcement agencies to focus on community policing, instead of “rounding up hard-working, honest immigrants.”

    “Now more than ever, we must protect immigrant New Yorkers from the cruel and inhumane policies ordered by the White House. Because of this current political climate, hard-working immigrants go about their daily lives with fear in their eyes. Family separations, massive deportations, this is not what we are all about. This is why we, at the state level, must ensure we become the first line of defense against these ruthless policies,” said Peralta.


    Gillibrand Hails Expansion Of SBA Program Helping Women & Minority Entrepreneurs

    U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

    U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday announced that following her push, the Senate passed the Microloan Modernization Act, bipartisan legislation she cosponsored that would expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Microloan Program to provide loans and technical assistance to minority and women business owners, as well as other entrepreneurs, who face challenges accessing the capital needed to start and expand small businesses because they are often denied loans by banks.

     The Senate passed the measure this week and has also passed the House. The legislation will now need to be conferenced with the House-passed bill ahead of final passage into law.

    “Many New Yorkers are proud entrepreneurs with great ideas and the drive to see them through, and I’m very pleased that this bipartisan bill to support them has passed the Senate,” said Gillibrand. “The bipartisan Microloan Modernization Act would give many would-be small business owners, who often struggle to get loans from banks, more efficient access to capital to start and grow their businesses. New Yorkers are working incredibly hard to make their communities thrive, and I was proud to fight for this legislation to support small businesses, reward work and entrepreneurship, and help fix our economy.”

    The Microloan Modernization Act would strengthen the SBA Microloan Program by raising the total limit on outstanding loans to intermediary lending organizations, which would allow for more loans to be made to minority, women, and other business owners.

    An additional provision of the Microloan Modernization Act that expands opportunities for more hands-on training assistance to help small business owners succeed passed into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations bill earlier this year.


    Avella, Braunstein Rally Against Bay Terrace Overdevelopment

    Assembly Member Edward Braunstein

    State Sen. Tony Avella (D-College Point, Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Fresh Meadows, Bellerose, Floral Park, Jamaica, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Kissena Park, Briarwood) and Assembly Member Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) today will join Bayside residents in opposing a multi-family development and daycare center where a two family home previously existed.

    The rally is slated for 10:30 a.m. today, July 20 15-10 215th Street in Bayside,

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